Damping Labor's Fires

In the boom towns of southern China, worker safety often takes a backseat to fast profits. During the past few months alone, a series of deadly accidents claimed hundreds of lives. In mid-July the government responded, with more than 60 teams of inspectors descending on Shenzhen and halting work at over 1,000 dangerous construction projects. Critics say much more needs to be done. "We've seen one disaster after another," says Winne Tam Pik-yan, executive secretary of the Hong Kong Confederation of Trade Unions. "If they don't take action, there will be many more."

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